Otherwise known as the Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité, the ARPP is a French organization whose purpose is to regulate and supervise the dissemination of advertising. It was first named Bureau de Vérification de la Publicité in 1935. Since 2008, ARPP is an independent authority.
The role of the ARPP
This organization reviews all media that broadcast advertising; TV, press, radio, digital display etc. It makes sure that the advertisements are honest, and above all, conform to the laws and regulations in force. This is why it works directly with advertisers, advertising agencies, consumers and media.
To ensure that the advertising broadcast respects ethical and deontological principles, the ARPP has set up rules and recommendations. They aim to protect consumers against misleading, inappropriate or offensive advertising.
- Respect the principles of fairness, truthfulness, decency and responsibility in advertising messages.
- Avoid discriminatory or degrading stereotypes, particularly in terms of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, etc.
- Clearly state the essential characteristics of the product or service offered, as well as the conditions of sale, prices, delivery terms, etc.
- Do not mislead the consumer about the benefits or performance of the product or service, nor create unjustified fears or unreasonable expectations.
- Respect the privacy and personal data of consumers, in accordance with the legislation in force (in particular the RGPD).
- Not to exploit the credulity or vulnerability of children or fragile people.
- Avoid advertising messages likely to shock or offend the public, particularly with regard to violence, sexuality or religion.
However, the ARPP is not a mandatory organization. Often, advertisers or advertising agencies have their own service to check that the rules of distribution are respected. If an advertisement does not comply with the rules, the ARPP can be contacted by advertising professionals or even consumers to investigate the advertising practices of the company.
Once the investigation is completed, if the ARPP finds a violation of the rules, the advertiser will be asked to withdraw or modify the advertisement in question. If the advertiser decides to refuse, the ARPP will transmit the file to the legal authorities.
To raise awareness among advertising professionals and consumers, ARPP organizes training sessions, events and workshops to promote good advertising practices.
Here are two examples of advertisements that did not comply with ARPP's recommendations
Yves St. Laurent accused of sexism in his 2017 campaign.
Examples of advertisements rejected by the ARPP
In 2017, the advertisements from the renowned haute couture house Yves Saint Laurent were deemed by the ARPP as "non-compliant with ethical rules in terms of image and respect." 120 complaints were filed for various reasons such as "degrading images" and "objectification of women." The ARPP then requested the modification or removal of the advertising posters.
Now, for advertising in display, if it concerns alcohol or dating websites, the advertiser is obliged to have their campaign validated by the ARPP.
Regarding comparative advertising in display, the advertiser will have to prove the effectiveness of the message in their advertisement, the promise made through the advertisement is indeed real.